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Vegetable Protein Powder – The Power Food

Vegetable proteins are in no way inferior to animal proteins. And muscle building works just as well with vegetable protein powders as with animal ones. But high-quality protein powders can do a lot more: They promote fat burning, supply vital substances, increase performance and initiate healing and repair processes. We introduce you to four of the best plant-based protein powders and their properties.

Vegetable protein powder

Vegetable proteins are contained in all plant-based foods in very different proportions. Legumes, seeds and nuts, for example, are very rich in vegetable protein (protein), while fruits and salads provide relatively little protein. Vegetable proteins are also available in concentrated powder form. Then one speaks of vegetable protein powder. We introduce the following four protein powders: Rice Protein, Lupine Protein, Pea Protein and Hemp Protein.

Proteins are vital

Proteins ensure beautiful hair, firm and soft skin, strong muscles – and since proteins are also used to produce antibodies – a powerful immune system. Many hormones and endogenous enzymes also consist primarily of proteins. Since proteins are also the building blocks of every single cell, there is not a single structure in the body that does not consist of proteins in some form.

The human organism is therefore dependent on a high-quality protein supply. However, this does not mean that we now have to eat protein-rich foods indiscriminately and in excessive amounts, nor do they have to be animal proteins. Instead, the protein requirement can be covered very well with a purely plant-based diet.

Vegan protein sources – The list

If you are interested in vegan foods with a high protein content, then you will find the best plant-based protein sources with the respective protein contents (in grams per 100 g or per serving) in our protein sources list. This makes it easy for you to put together a varied diet plan with a sufficiently high protein content.

In some life situations, however, the protein requirement increases. Plant protein powders can now be integrated into the nutrition plan and help to cover the increased need in a very simple and healthy way.

And since vegetable protein powders contain many other vital nutrients and vital substances in addition to proteins, it is not just protein powders, but extremely compact food supplements that can remedy or prevent many deficiencies.

Who needs plant-based protein powders

While plant-based protein powders are a favorite of athletes, they’re highly recommended for MANY people—whether you’re an exercise enthusiast or couch-locker.

Because just a stressful situation or simply the feeling that everything is getting to be too much for you, even an illness or the fact that you absolutely can’t get around to cooking a balanced and vital substance-rich meal every day makes nutritional supplements necessary.

Vegetable protein powders in particular can help in a variety of ways by compensating for deficits, activating healing and regeneration processes, supplying energy and thus contributing to the desired well-being.

In summary, plant-based protein powders are extremely helpful for the following groups of people:

  • athlete
  • people with stress
  • People with increased nutritional needs, e.g. B. in stressful situations: With a stressful lifestyle of any kind (whether at work, while breastfeeding, in phases of mourning, etc.), the need for nutrients also increases. Since high-quality vegetable protein powders not only provide proteins, but also vital substances, dietary fiber and minerals, they are ideally suited to balancing out certain nutritional deficiencies or to covering an increased need for nutrients.
  • People on a low-protein diet: Perhaps your diet is very low in protein, e.g. B. if you are vegetarian or vegan, if you prefer raw fruit or if you are a baked goods junkie. In all these cases, a plant-based protein powder can enhance a low-protein diet.
  • People who eat an unbalanced or particularly low-calorie diet: Older people often do not eat a balanced diet or even eat too little, so you should pay attention to the diet of older family members and, if necessary, recommend a protein powder to them. The same goes for busy people who just can’t cook. Here it is good if you can compensate for the deficiencies of an unbalanced diet with a vegetable protein powder, e.g. B. in the form of a shake as a snack or for breakfast.
  • People who eat a low-carbohydrate diet (low carb): Anyone who eats according to the low-carb criteria can repeatedly fall into phases in which the organism needs more free amino acids to generate energy than are currently available in the bloodstream. Now there is a risk that muscle mass will be broken down in order to get the necessary amino acids. Vegetable protein powders therefore fit well into a low-carb nutrition plan and ensure that there are always enough free amino acids in the blood. Muscle loss is thus prevented.
  • People who want to lose weight: Do you want to lose weight? Vegetable protein powders fill you up very well due to their high nutrient density and at the same time provide you with a large number of vital substances. And even if the protein powders can boost weight loss, they only do this if you are overweight, not if you are normal or underweight.
  • People who want to gain weight: If you are underweight, you can slowly but surely achieve normal weight with the vegetable protein powders – of course always as part of an otherwise adjusted diet.
  • People in a regeneration phase: You may also feel weakened or are in a regeneration phase, e.g. B. after an illness or pregnancy or in another situation that has sapped your strength. Vegetable protein powders help you to recharge your batteries.

Vegetable protein powder with high digestibility

Many protein-rich foods are difficult to digest, e.g. E.g. cheese, nuts or legumes. Other protein-rich foods do not fit the vegan lifestyle that many people favor, e.g. B. Fish, meat and dairy products. However, if you avoid the majority of these foods, nutrient deficiencies could be the result.

How pleasant is it when you can simply use vegetable protein powder and integrate it into your vegan diet plan. The plant-based protein powders can be quickly turned into a delicious shake and are extremely easy to digest for everyone, from young to old, regardless of whether they are made from rice, hemp, lupine or peas.

The Maskelmän rice protein, for example, has a PDCAAS value of 1, which stands for the best digestibility. This value is the highest attainable PDCAAS value, while beef is only 0.92.

PDCAAS stands for “Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score” and is used to assess protein qualities.

Protein powders increase the success of your diet

Protein-rich foods are repeatedly praised as THE slimming products par excellence. This is because proteins, and of course plant-based protein powders, have a so-called “thermal” effect. This means that digesting proteins requires more energy than digesting carbohydrates or fat.

Apparently, up to 30 percent of the protein calories are already burned for the digestion of the proteins, with an above-average amount of heat being generated. Hence the term “thermal”.

The benefits of highly concentrated plant-based protein powders

There are plant-based protein powders that are high in protein and slightly lower in protein. The protein content can therefore vary between 40 and 80%. There is rice protein powder B. with a very low protein content up to a protein content of over 80 percent.

The pea protein is also available in highly concentrated form (80 percent), so these two protein powders are perfect for all those people who have a high protein requirement, such as vegan athletes or people who are weak.

Of course, these protein powders are also the best choice for the low-carb nutrition plan, as the carbohydrate content is between 0.5% (rice protein) and 8% (pea protein) and is therefore very low.

The benefits of lower concentrated protein powders

Lupine and hemp proteins are dosed rather low at 40 to 50 percent protein. However, this is not a disadvantage.

Because a low protein content indicates that there is still room for many other nutrients and vital substances in relevant quantities, such as e.g. B. essential fatty acids (in the hemp protein omega-3 fatty acids and the rare gamma-linolenic acid) or plenty of magnesium, iron and zinc or the dietary fibers that are so important for the digestive organs.

Lower-dosed protein powders are therefore also an excellent substitute for a meal and are perfect for people who want to use their protein powder more as an all-round nutritional supplement and do not just need it to purely optimize their protein supply.

However, the actual protein content is not always easy to identify. For example, the packaging might say “100% hemp protein.” It actually contains 100% de-oiled hemp flour. However, the protein content rarely exceeds 50%. Trustworthy retailers therefore clearly indicate the effective protein content in the product description.

The protein quality

Of course, when it comes to protein powder, it’s not just the amount of protein that counts, but also the quality of the protein. The protein quality results from the amino acid composition. Amino acids are like letters.

It’s just that you can’t make words out of them, but you can make proteins. And that is exactly what our organism does with the amino acids that it receives from daily nutrition. It breaks down the food proteins into amino acids and uses them to build up its own body proteins.

But what happens if we have a lot of all letters – to go back to the letter example. But we only have a few copies of the E. Then only very little text can be written – just enough until all the E’s are used up. And even if we have so many L, M, O, P, etc., it’s no use. Because without “E” no text.

It’s the same with amino acids. If the diet provides seven of the eight essential amino acids in sufficient quantities, but only little of one amino acid, then the body can only build up so many endogenous proteins until this one amino acid – it is called the limiting amino acid – is used up.

The remaining amino acids are then broken down and excreted or temporarily stored in the body, often in the form of fat.

If you now buy a protein powder, you naturally want it to contain the right amount of all amino acids so that the organism can draw on the full amount and the amount of the limiting amino acid is only used up when the body is fully supplied with protein.

Hemp Protein – The Alone Protein

The amino acids contained in the protein powder should therefore be present in a similar ratio as in the human body. This is roughly the case with hemp protein, making it a very good standalone protein, i.e. a protein powder that does not need to be mixed with other protein powders to achieve better protein quality.

Lupine Protein – The basic protein

In the lupine protein we find low levels of methionine and cysteine. Since both are acid-forming amino acids, the lupine protein is also referred to as a basic protein, which is considered an advantage – especially if you want to deacidify or are in the middle of another form of detoxification.

The lupine protein is therefore a good protein powder that can be chosen to accompany detoxification measures.

Lupine protein is also a wonderful way to supplement the diet for vegans who like to eat methionine-rich foods such as nuts, seeds and whole grain products, but do not like or tolerate legumes.

And if you need a higher dose of protein powder in this case, choose the pea protein with 80% protein. This also provides few acid-forming amino acids with the best tolerability and high digestibility.

The perfect combination: rice protein & pea protein

However, if you want a perfect protein powder that provides all the amino acids in the right ratio and in large quantities, then you combine the pea protein with the rice protein. The rice protein contains plenty of methionine. However, in rice protein, lysine is the limiting amino acid.

Lysine, on the other hand, is contained in extremely high amounts in pea protein. Both proteins are mixed in a ratio of 3 (pea protein) to 7 (rice protein) and in this way you get a perfect, but still purely plant-based protein.

Rice Protein: Just as good as whey protein for muscle building

Nevertheless, very interesting studies have shown that just taking rice protein can lead to enormous success in terms of muscle building. A study from the University of Tampa in Florida looked at muscle growth in 24 young men who exercised three times a week and consumed 48 grams of rice protein or whey protein daily for 8 weeks.

There were no differences. Both groups were able to build muscle to the same extent. Muscle strength and performance as well as the length of the recovery phases were also the same in both groups.

Sporting success is therefore possible with purely plant-based protein powders to the same extent as with animal proteins. With the difference that animal protein powders very often have health disadvantages.

They often contain sweeteners, flavors, synthetic vitamins and many other additives that are fundamentally missing in a natural and purely plant-based organic protein powder. Vegetable protein powders therefore not only guarantee sporting success, but healthy sporting success.

Fast or slow proteins?

Athletes often have an increased interest in whether a protein is a “fast” or a “slow” protein. By “fast” and “slow” is meant the protein’s speed at which its amino acids arrive in the blood. For example, whey protein isolate is considered a fast protein, while rice protein is considered a medium-fast protein.

However, we now know that it is much more important to consume a protein powder after training in order to promote muscle growth – whether the protein is considered fast or slow is apparently less important for the body.

Yes, even a slow protein has its benefits. It fills you up more sustainably (whey protein tends not to do that) and supplies the organism with amino acids over a longer period of time. It is therefore advisable to either go straight for a medium-fast protein (like rice protein) or to mix a fast protein with a slow protein.

Another study by the University of Tampa also found that the amino acid leucine from rice protein is absorbed faster than the leucine from whey protein – even though rice protein is considered slower overall than whey protein.

However, leucine is the amino acid that is the only one of all amino acids that can activate the muscle building process in the body on its own. The rice protein seems to clearly outperform the whey protein, because it combines both fast and medium-fast properties and is therefore THE athlete’s protein par excellence.

Vegetable protein powder – and your love life is saved!

Of course, amino acids are not only used to build well-formed muscles, but also healthy organs, flexible joints, smooth skin, beautiful hair and a perfectly functioning immune system. A consistent supply of amino acids is also associated with enduring potency – especially if attention is paid to high levels of the amino acid arginine.

Plant-based protein powders all provide twice to three times the arginine levels of whey protein (pea protein tops the list) and therefore easily get your love life going. So that you can easily choose the right protein powder for you, you will find the portraits of the four best plant proteins below.

Pea Protein – Strong muscles and high endurance

  • High Arginine Levels: Nearly 7 grams of arginine per 100 grams. There is only 2 grams of arginine in whey protein. Arginine increases performance, endurance and potency.
  • High BCAA levels: BCAA are the amino acids responsible for building muscle. Pea protein is therefore ideal for intensive strength training
  • High levels of lysine: Lysine is involved in the absorption of calcium and is therefore crucial for bone health. Lysine also plays an important role in the formation of collagen. Collagen, in turn, is an important component of our connective tissue (bones, cartilage, skin, tendons), so that the musculoskeletal system would suffer massively if there were a lysine deficiency. A portion (20 g) of a high-quality pea protein (e.g. Maskelmän) already covers the daily requirement of lysine.
  • Promotes fat burning: lysine is a component of carnitine – and carnitine in turn activates fat burning and weight loss and ensures that you don’t get tired in sports.
  • Supports weight loss: In a 2011 study published in Nutrition Journal, a pea protein shake consumed 30 minutes before a meal can be so filling that much less of the main meal is consumed. If, on the other hand, the subjects ate whey or egg protein as a starter, this effect was not evident and they ate normal-sized portions.
  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and therefore the perfect dietary supplement to promote regeneration and healing in chronic diseases.
  • Hypoallergenic: Pea protein is ideal for allergy sufferers.
  • Source of iron: Just one serving (20-25 g) of pea protein per day covers 30 percent of a woman’s iron requirement, which is around 15 mg of iron (in men it’s around 10 mg).

Tip: Combine pea protein with rice protein (3:7). This increases the biological value of the protein to the upper optimal range.

For whom?

  • For strength and endurance athletes – combined with rice protein
  • For people on a low carb diet
  • For people who want to lose weight
  • For people with high protein requirements
  • For weak people

Rice Protein – The Low Carb Protein

  • Low carb protein: Maskelmän’s 80% rice protein is a low carb protein with less than 0.5 percent carbohydrates.
  • High levels of arginine and BCAA: These levels are similar or higher in rice protein than in pea protein. The rice protein is therefore a perfect protein n for strength and endurance athletes.
  • Medium-Fast Protein: Rice protein is absorbed medium-fast, but the leucine portion is absorbed faster than whey protein. Leucine is one of the most important amino acids that directly activate muscle building.
  • Vital substances: No synthetic vitamins are added to the rice protein. Instead, it contains all the vital substances from the whole grain of rice in a natural combination and is therefore highly bioavailable.
  • Great taste: Very pleasant taste and fine consistency.
  • Hypo-allergenic: The rice protein is gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, wheat-free and dairy-free.

Tip: Combine pea protein with rice protein (3:7) to further improve the biological value.

For whom?

  • For strength and endurance athletes – combined with rice protein
  • For people on a low carb diet
  • For people who want to lose weight
  • For people with high protein requirements
  • For weak people

Hemp protein – The nutrient bomb

  • Protein Content: Hemp protein is commonly available at 50% protein content, so it is a protein that is also rich in many other nutrients.
  • Solo Protein: Hemp Protein is a solo protein with excellent protein quality and bioavailability. It doesn’t need to be mixed with other proteins to improve the amino acid profile.
  • High levels of arginine: Despite being lower in protein, hemp protein provides almost as much arginine as rice and pea protein.
  • High BCAA values: These values ​​are also high for hemp protein, they only appear lower here since the total protein content is only 50%.
  • Ideal fatty acid pattern with anti-inflammatory effect, as the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids contained are in the optimal ratio of 1:3 for humans. In addition, the hemp oil contains the rare gamma-linolenic acid, which is particularly helpful for skin problems (eczema, etc.) and premenstrual symptoms.
  • Fiber supplier with 18 percent fiber content, cares for the intestines and promotes digestion, but without containing oligosaccharides, which have a prebiotic effect (i.e. benefit the intestinal flora), but lead to flatulence and digestive problems in many people.
  • High magnesium values: With 30 grams of hemp protein you take in 220 mg of magnesium – and thus already more than half of your daily requirement.
  • High iron levels: With 30 grams of hemp protein, you get about 7 mg of iron, which is half the daily requirement of a woman and two-thirds of the daily requirement of a man.
  • Good source of zinc: With 30 grams of hemp protein you also get 3.5 mg of zinc. The daily requirement is 7 to 11 mg.

For whom?

  • For strength and endurance athletes
  • For people who want to gain weight
  • For people looking for a holistic dietary supplement
  • For people who want to optimize their iron, magnesium and zinc supply
  • For people who occasionally replace a whole meal with a protein shake
  • For weak people

Lupine Protein – The Gentle Protein

  • Protein content: The lupine protein provides 40 percent protein.
  • Good lysine values: As a baking ingredient, lupine protein can therefore compensate for the lack of lysine in cereal products and give the baked goods a better biological value.
  • Basic: The lupine protein is considered a basic protein. It contains only small amounts of acid-forming amino acids and is therefore ideally suited as an ingredient in alkaline nutrition and as an accompaniment to detoxification cures or cleansing programs.
  • Good baking ingredient for bread, cakes, cookies, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, etc.
  • The baked goods are not only richer in protein, but also lighter.
  • Egg substitute: Lupine protein can be used as an egg substitute (1 tablespoon of lupine protein mixed with 2 tablespoons of water replaces 1 egg) and can also replace soy flour in recipes that contain soy flour.
  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory: Lupine is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin E, both of which are powerful antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress.
  • Fiber supplier: With 32 percent fiber, lupine protein cares for the intestines and supports healthy digestion.
    allergic? The lupine contains certain proteins that are similar to the proteins in peanuts. Peanut allergy sufferers should therefore avoid consuming lupine products, as a cross-allergy could occur. However, tests have shown that lupine and its protein do not have a higher allergy potential than other legumes such as e.g. B. peanuts, peas or soybeans.

Tip: Lupine protein can be combined with rice protein to further increase the biological value of the protein.

For whom?

  • For people who want to purify, deacidify or follow an alkaline diet
  • For people who want to lose weight
  • For people who, in addition to protein supply, also want to improve their intestinal activity
  • For people who like to bake with proteins

Vegetable protein powders: the right intake

Some vegetable protein is available in the form of protein tablets (lupine protein) or in capsule form (rice protein). However, they are usually offered as a powder. This can be easily incorporated into the daily nutrition plan, e.g. B. in the following ways:

  • Stir or mix into drinks (water or juice).
  • Mix in plant drinks (oat milk, rice milk, soy milk or nut milk).
  • Blend into smoothies.
  • Use in baking: Mix up to 15 percent of the total flour in bread, pizza, quiche, and cake batters. As a result, the carbohydrate content of the food in question decreases while the protein content increases.
  • Stir into yoghurt or muesli.
  • If you also combine a plant-based protein with other superfoods such as spirulina , afa algae, maca , barley or wheatgrass etc., you get an incredible mix of nutrients and micronutrients that all work together to promote your health.
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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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